One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It’s just a hug…
And yet, I feel my heart open.
It's just a hug…
Then why do I feel like crying?
It’s just a hug…
Tell me your troubles, let me share mine.
Yes, it’s just a hug.
And it feels like home.
In Celebration of Nurturing Ties
National Friendship Day is a heartwarming celebration observed annually every first Sunday of August, dedicated to honoring those loving, platonic bonds that enrich our lives. This day serves as a reminder to cherish and appreciate the friends who stand by us through thick and thin.
This holiday began as a marketing approach for Hallmark Cards in the 1930s. Originator Joyce Hall initially marked August 2 as the time to celebrate the people closest to you, and send them an uplifting card or two in the process. It became an official commemoration when the U.S. Congress pronounced the first Sunday of August as National Friendship Day in 1935. The holiday continued gaining global popularity. And in 1998, the United Nations designated Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.
Friendship is a profound and essential element of human existence. It transcends borders, cultures, and backgrounds — bringing us together in unique and meaningful ways. Friends provide support, laughter, and understanding. They are our pillars of strength during life's challenges.
Social media platforms and various modes of communication have made it easier than ever to connect with our friends, regardless of geographical distances. National Friendship Day has embraced this digital age — encouraging us to reach out and reconnect with long-lost friends or to show our appreciation to those dear to our hearts.
This celebration is not confined to just personal relationships. Many schools, workplaces, and communities organize events and activities to encourage camaraderie and teamwork, fostering a sense of unity and cooperation among peers and colleagues.
As we continue to face life’s challenges, the significance of friendship becomes even more pronounced. This inspiring day reminds us that amidst the complexities of life, the presence of true friends can provide solace, joy, and unwavering support.
In essence, it is a joyful occasion that magnifies the empowering beauty of friendship. It prompts us to pause and reflect on the invaluable connections we have forged — inspiring us to nurture and cherish these relationships for years to come, even for life.
On this special day, let us embrace the opportunity to express our gratitude to our friends. Acts of kindness, thoughtful gestures, and simple messages of appreciation help nurture the ties that bind us in deep and lasting accords.
Ties That Bind And Empower
Friendship plays a vital role in enhancing overall well-being by enriching our lives in myriad ways. Beyond the joy of companionship, the benefits of friendship extend to physical, mental, and emotional health.
According to motivational theory in the field of psychology, friendship aligns with Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs — by addressing the psychological and social components. At the foundational level, belongingness and love needs are fulfilled through meaningful friendships by providing a sense of connection and acceptance. As we progress, our esteem needs are nurtured when good friends offer support and validation, thus bolstering our self-confidence. Good friends influence our self-actualization — as they encourage our personal growth, self-expression, and fulfillment. In this hierarchy, friendship acts as a bridge by fulfilling both our emotional and higher-level needs, contributing significantly to our overall well-being and self-fulfillment.
Social interaction, a cornerstone of friendship, contributes to improved mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in meaningful conversations and sharing experiences with friends can alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation by promoting a sense of belonging and connectedness. Such interactions stimulate our brains, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline and enhancing mental agility.
Friendships offer a supportive network during challenging times. Friends provide a safe space to express feelings and seek advice, and help alleviate stress and anxiety. The emotional bonds we form foster empathy and understanding and nurture emotional security.
Physiologically, our friendships offer tangible health advantages. Positive social connections have been linked to lowered blood pressure, strengthened immune systems, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Engaging in activities with friends, whether by exercising together or participating in hobbies, can motivate us to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
They also enhance personal growth and self-esteem. Constructive feedback from friends aids in self-awareness and self-improvement. Encouragement and affirmation from friends can boost confidence and self-worth, enabling us to face personal challenges with a more positive mindset. In times of celebration, friends magnify moments of happiness and success. Sharing achievements with friends enhances the experience, generating feelings of pride and accomplishment.
Laughter shared among friends has profound effects on well-being. It triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Additionally, humor and lightheartedness shared between friends contribute to our joy and happiness.
At its core, friendship is a multi-faceted gem that contributes significantly to our well-being. Its effects ripple through emotional, mental, and physical realms, enriching our lives with companionship, support, and shared experiences. Cultivating and nurturing friendships is a valuable investment in one's holistic health and happiness.
On A Personal Note
Fountain pens led the way to the good friends I have today. Our shared interest brought us closer to one another through pen meets, handwritten letters, arts and crafts sessions, pen gifts, and ink exchanges. During the pandemic, our care packages for each other would always be accompanied by heartwarming notes written with our favorite pens and inks. Since then, they have become my found family, providing solace, laughter, meaning, and love. I am forever grateful to have them in my life, for they’ve helped me love myself as well. Thank you, my dears, for your friendship.
Happy National Friendship Day!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!